Home:   Rifles

Please Note: Not all of the objects on this website are on display at the museum.

Hiram Maxim and the Machine Gun

Hiram Maxim and the Machine Gun

Spin It - What makes a Rifle work?

Spin It - What makes a Rifle work?


Image of BROWN BESS MUSKET BY KETLAND, 1790

Larger image

BROWN BESS MUSKET BY KETLAND, 1790

The Brown Bess Flint Lock Musket was in use by the British Army from 1730 to 1835 when it was replaced for percussion models, starting with the Enfield 3 band pattern.
Four models were produced varying in length from 39 inches to 41 inch barrels. It was a favourite in-spite of competition from rifled models like the Baker in 1803. Most Brown Bess's were made in various workshops and Proofed by the Tower of London, this model made by William Ketland who also made high quality guns for George 111.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A0539 A0540

Image of HUNTING FLINT LOCK MUSKET, 1800's

Larger image

HUNTING FLINT LOCK MUSKET, 1800's

Hunting or sporting Flint Lock Musket made by Terry.
The presence of a wooden ramrod means it was probably made before 1770.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A0545

Image of BAKER RIFLE/MUSKET AND BAYONET, 1803

Larger image

BAKER RIFLE/MUSKET AND BAYONET, 1803

In February 1800 the Baker Rifle won a competition organised by the army's board of ordnance and became the first rifle officially adopted by the British army. Superseded in 1838, the patch box in the butt is used for storing the patches that prevent the ball in the barrel from falling out
Previously, rifles had been issued on a limited basis and consisted of parts made to no precise pattern, often brought in from Germany. The war against Revolutionary France had resulted in the employment of new tactics, and the British Army responded, albeit with some delay. Prior to the formation of an Experimental Rifle Corps in 1800, a trial was held at Woolwich by the British Board of Ordnance on 22 February 1800 in order to select a standard rifle pattern; the rifle designed by Ezekiel Baker was chosen. This is remarkable because he is not known to have produced military rifles before, being involved only in the repair and production of muskets. Indeed, it is not known how much of the rifle now commonly named after him was actually the result of his own work. Numerous parts used in the pattern existed before the rifle was submitted for trial.
The rifle is referred to almost exclusively as the "Baker Rifle", but it was produced by a variety of manufacturers and sub-contractors from 1800 to 1837. Most of the rifles produced between 1800 and 1815 were not made by Ezekiel Baker, but under the Tower of London system, and he sub-contracted the manufacture of parts of the rifle to over twenty British gunsmiths. It was reported that many rifles that sent to the British Army inspectors were not complete, to the extent of even having no barrel, since the rifle was sent on to another contractor for finishing. Baker's production during the period 1805-1815 was a mere 712 rifles, not even enough to be in the "top ten".
Our example is a replica made for the TV series Sharp and is a good example of one of the many variants that were made.

Also shown, the correct bayonet. The drill term at the time was fix swords not fix bayonets.
IT became the first rifle officially adopted by the British Army. Whilst still only a flintlock Musket, it was used by Rifle brigades while the bulk of the army used the Brown Bess (item A0539).

View 1 comment about this object

A1104, A1104b

Image of DOUBLE BARREL HUNTING PERCUSSION MUSKET, 1830's

Larger image

DOUBLE BARREL HUNTING PERCUSSION MUSKET, 1830's

Sporting or hunting musket made by Westley Richards.
Using a Percussion cap, these were invented by Frederick Forsyth in 1809.
Made during the Reign of William 1V during the 1830's

View 1 comment about this object

A0546

Image of BRITISH BRUNSWICK TWO GROOVE RIFLE/MUSKET, 1830's

Larger image

BRITISH BRUNSWICK TWO GROOVE RIFLE/MUSKET, 1830's

This weapon, adopted in 1837, replaced the Baker Rifle (see item A1104). it was found to be too heavy and was replaced by the 1853 Enfield rifle. Having only two grooves in the barrel and using a percussion cap type lock, it remained in service for nearly half a century. This version has Asian markings, and is a variant on the British model.

Also shown, the correct bayonet.

The drill term, at the time, was fix swords not fix bayonets.

View 1 comment about this object

A1035 A1035b

Image of SHARPS FALLING BLOCK CARBINE RIFLE , 1859

Larger image

SHARPS FALLING BLOCK CARBINE RIFLE , 1859

1848, the first models of Sharps Sporting Rifles were being made in Mill Creek, Pennsylvania by the firm of A. S. Nippes and it was in this year that the first Sharps Rifle was patented on September 12th, 1848
1850 saw manufacturing moved to Robin & Co.of Lawrence.
The Model 1851 was replaced in production by the Model 1853 which was surpassed by the Model 1859. All civil war Sharps arms were percussion cap arms, using a combustible cartridge of paper or glazed linen. The basic principle of toggle-linking guard lever and vertical sliding breech block all date from the 1848 patent. By releasing a catch a soldier could pull down the trigger guard, which dropped the breech and allowed him to insert a cartridge. Returning the trigger guard closed the breech. In the front of the breech block was set a plate, having a slight motion from front to back under the influence of gas pressure. The top edge, on closing the breech, sheared off the end of the cartridge to expose the powder. Mechanically the 1859-63 lock plates, also had the Sharps pellet primer installed, patented by Sharps on October 5th 1852 and modified by R.S. Lawrence’s pellet feed shut-off, (to conserve the pellet primers). These pellet primers or “sharps primes” as they were called were valuable but a labour to load, but when used when a fast rate of fire was required, enabled the rifle to fulfil the claim of firing 10 to 12 shots per minute, at all other times top hat caps were used and the primes kept in reserve. During the late winter of 1863 the new model was developed . Differing in only minor manufacturing changes, the biggest of these being the removal of the sharps pellet primer and the omission of the patch box in the stock.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1451

Image of AUGUSTIN  TUBE OR PILL LOCK RIFLE/MUSKET, 1844

Larger image

AUGUSTIN TUBE OR PILL LOCK RIFLE/MUSKET, 1844

Pill Lock muskets used a tube placed under the hammer and held by a cover, when the hammer came down the tube fractured and two components mixed causing a spark, thus firing the weapon.
Charges were loaded via the muzzle.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1133, A1133b

Image of ENFIELD 3 BAND RIFLE/MUSKET, 1853

Larger image

ENFIELD 3 BAND RIFLE/MUSKET, 1853

This is a Musket type rifle, made in 1858, 2nd Pattern,Tower marked (made by contractors) with a P53 bayonet, made in time for the American Civil War. Mass production at Enfield started in 1857, Birmingham Small Arms started in 1861.

The British Army was in the midst of a significant weapons transformation from smooth bore muskets to rifled muskets. While a number of regiments had been supplied with the pattern 1851, the majority of the army still carried the 1842 pattern smooth bore musket.
By the end of 1853, the Enfield Rifled musket, as approved by the War Department for the army and was put into production. The Enfield saw extensive action in the Crimean War which lasted from 1854-1856

This rifle replaced the Brunswick A1035 and Baker A1104 also the Victorian 'Minie' of 1851.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1105 A1105b

Image of SNIDER ENFIELD RIFLE DATED, 1864

Larger image

SNIDER ENFIELD RIFLE DATED, 1864

Made by The London Armoury Company (LACO)
The British .577 Snider-Enfield is a type of breech loading rifle. It was one of the most widely used of the Snider varieties, (the action invented by the American Jacob Snider).
It was adopted by Britain as a conversion system for its ubiquitous Enfield 1853 rifled musket muzzle loading arms. In trials, the Snider Pattern 1853 conversions proved both more accurate than original Pattern 1853s and much faster firing as well.
From 1866 on the rifles were converted in large numbers at the Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) Enfield beginning with the initial pattern, the Mark I.

New rifles started as Pattern 1853s, but received a new breech block/receiver assembly. Converted rifles retained the original iron barrel, furniture, locks and hammer. The Mark III rifles were newly made, with steel barrels which were so marked, flat nosed hammers, feature a latch-locking breech block. The Snider was the subject of substantial imitation, approved and questionable, including the near exact copy of the Nepalese Snider, the Dutch Snider, Danish Naval Snider, and the "unauthorised" adaptations of the French Tabatiere and Russian Krnka. It served throughout the British Empire, including the Cape Colony, India, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, until its gradual phase out by the Martini-Henry, beginning in 1874 but still being used by volunteer and militia forces until the late 1880s.
This Rifle was owned by a sportsman who won several Medals in competition.

View 1 comment about this object

A0548, A0556

Image of WERNDL/HOLUB BREACH LOADING RIFLE, 1865

Larger image

WERNDL/HOLUB BREACH LOADING RIFLE, 1865

Marked OE WG872 Ser NO 65432
Joseph Werndl 1831-1889 manufactured these rifles in 1868 from a design developed by inventor Karel Holub. Werndl worked with Ferdinand Von Manlicher who helped to set up a factory at Steyr in Austria.
This weapon was very successful and was adopted for use with the Infantry Imperial Royal Army. It won a competition held with the Remington Rolling Block rifle, and helped Austria win over other countries still using Muzle Loaders. Firing 11mm Bottle neck rounds, which were inserted by pulling back the Hammer, rotating the block clockwise, inserting the cartridge, closing the block and firing, spent shells were pulled out manually.
This weapon was still being used in the First world War.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1120

Image of REMMINGTON ROLLING BLOCK RIFLE, 1870's

Larger image

REMMINGTON ROLLING BLOCK RIFLE, 1870's

The Remington Rolling Block rifle produced by E. Remington and Sons (later Remington Arms Company) was one of two rifles probably used more than any other by the buffalo hunters who hunted the American bison herds in the 1870s and 1880s. The other rifle was the Sharps Rifle. This series of rifles was made in quantities and exported to other countries. They are also in a variety of calibres some of the more common was .45-70 or 11mm, or the later model such as the Remington model 6 which was in .22 calibre. Many were used by Argentina before being replaced in 1891 by the new 7.65mm Mausers.
The rolling block is one of the strongest actions ever designed. Due to 19th century techniques, as with most vintage firearms produced for black powder cartridges, rifles and pistols manufactured using this action during the 19th and early 20th centuries may not be suitable for modern, high powered ammunition. Rolling block rifles were made for smokeless powder cartridges. A rolling block is a form of firearm action where the sealing of the breech is done with a specially shaped breech block able to rotate on a pin. The breech block is shaped like a section of a circle. The breech block is locked into place by the hammer, thus preventing the cartridge from moving backwards at the moment of firing. By cocking the hammer, the breech block can be rotated freely to reload the weapon.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1452

Image of MARTINI HENRY RIFLE Mk 2, 1870's

Larger image

MARTINI HENRY RIFLE Mk 2, 1870's

Made by Thomas Turner, Undated.
The Martini-Henry (also known as the Peabody-Martini-Henry) was a breech-loading lever-actuated rifle adopted by the British, combining an action worked on by Friedrich von Martini (based on the Peabody rifle developed by Henry Peabody), with the rifled barrel designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry. It first entered service in 1871 replacing the Snider-Enfield, and variants were used throughout the British Empire for 30 years. It was the first British service rifle that was a true breech-loading rifle using metallic cartridges.
During the Martini-Henry period in service, the British army were involved in a large number of colonial wars, most notably the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. The rifle was used by the company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot present at Rorke's Drift. During the battle, approximately 150 British soldiers successfully defended themselves against several thousand Zulus. The weapon was not completely phased out until 1904.

The weapon is partly blamed for the defeat of British troops at Isandlwana prior to Rorke's Drift (in addition to poor tactics and numerical inferiority) while the Martini-Henry was state of the art, in the African climate the action tended to overheat and foul after heavy use. It would eventually become difficult to move the breech block and reload the rifle.
After investigating the matter, the British Army Ordnance Department determined the fragile construction of the rolled brass cartridge and fouling due to the black powder propellant were the main causes of this problem.
To correct this, the cartridge was switched from weak rolled brass to stronger drawn brass, and a longer loading lever was incorporated to apply greater torque to operate the mechanism when fouled.
These later variants were highly reliable in battle.

View 1 comment about this object

A0549, A0555

Image of YATAGHAN BAYONET, 1885

Larger image

YATAGHAN BAYONET, 1885

Bayonet used by Sergeants on the Martini Henry Rifle Item A0549. Not used on the long Snider rifle, short and carbine version only.
The sword known as a Yataghan with its characteristic recurving blade of an extended gentle S-shape originated in Turkey. The blade form was probably first used on a bayonet in France in 1837 when an experimental sword –socket bayonet with an unfullered Yataghan blade was manufactured in small quantities. The subsequent used by the French of this type of blade, now fullered, on their Model 1840 brass hilted sword bayonet proved hugely influential as this bayonet model also pioneered the use of the very successful muzzle ring, pommel T-mortised and flat- spring fixing catch method of fixing on the firearm, and was widely copied by other nations.

The Yataghan blade is a good compromise between the curved edge, superior for cutting purposes, and the straight blade, better for thrusting with the point. For a fixed bayonet, the Yataghan blade design had the added advantage of positioning the blade point well away from the line of the rifles bore, a feature very useful in the age of muzzle-loading firearms as it reduced the chances of a soldier spiking his hand on his bayonet point when ramming home a charge in the gun barrel. This feature was obviously rendered unimportant when breech-loading military firearms became the norm from the 1860’s onwards and, by the end of the 19th century, Yataghan blades were looking increasingly old-fashioned. Most military rifles which were newly made after the late 1880’s were fitted with straight bladed knife or sword bayonets. Brazil's Model 1904 bayonet was up to date as far as its proportions and hilt design were concerned, but its Yataghan blade was definitely a somewhat anachronistic survival from an earlier era.
(The Armourer Oct 2008 R.D.C.Evans.)

View 1 comment about this object

A0547

Image of AMERICAN SPRINGFIELD CADET ROD BAYONET RIFLE, 1878

Larger image

AMERICAN SPRINGFIELD CADET ROD BAYONET RIFLE, 1878

Undated.
Trapdoor Springfield Rifle .45/.70 calibre dated 1891. Known as the Cadet Rod/Bayonet Rifle. Picture shows the Trapdoor up. The bayonet is retracted. When adopted June 19, 1903, Springfield Armoury's rifle had a rod bayonet, and fired a new rimless .30 calibre cartridge also designated Model 1903.
On January 11, 1905, one week after Teddy Roosevelt's letter to the Secretary of War, production on the "Rod Bayonet" Model 1903 Springfield was halted. Only 74,000 rifles had been made at Springfield at that point, and while 1600 sets of parts had been completed at Rock Island Arsenal but probably no rifles assembled.

On May 5, 1905 a new knife bayonet was adopted, similar to that previously used on the Krags. The new bayonet had a 16 inch blade, slightly less than six inches longer than the Krag bayonet. The Model 1903 rifle was about six inches shorter than the Krag rifle, so both had roughly equivalent "reach" for bayonet fighting.

In July or August 1905, new sights were adopted and work began to convert rifles to the newly approved configuration.

Accuracy problems at long range resulted in replacement of the 220 grain round nosed bullet with a 150 grain pointed bullet. This needed a shorter case neck, and the resulting "jump" before engaging the rifling caused accuracy problems. It was decided to alter M1903 Springfield barrels to better fit the new cartridge, designated "Cartridge, Calibre .30 Model of 1906." But known to shooters today simply as the .30-06.

The massive alteration program begun a few months earlier had to start anew, and it was not until about 1908 that production of the Model 1903 rifle with alterations of 1905 for knife bayonet, and chambered for the .30-06 cartridge became routine. By 1910 nearly all of the "rod bayonet' and 1905 conversions had been retrieved and updated. Those that escaped are very valuable collectors items, and many rifles have been restored to the "Rod bayonet" configuration to meet demand from collectors.
(1903.over-blog.com)

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1005

Image of SWISS SCHMIDT RUBIN RIFLE, 1889

Larger image

SWISS SCHMIDT RUBIN RIFLE, 1889

Swiss production military rifle. Using the new Rubin Cartridge of 1882. The Schmidt-Rubin rifles were a series of Swiss Army service rifles in use between 1889 and 1953. They are distinguished by the straight-pull bolt action invented by Rudolf Schmidt and used Eduard Rubin's 7.5x55mm rifle cartridge.
The first in the series of Schmidt-Rubin rifles which served Switzerland from 1889-1953. Rifle Schmidt-Rubin 1889 gets its name from the creator of the rifle's action, Col. Schmidt and the creator of the ammunition the rifle used, Col. Rubin. The rifle designated as the Swiss repeater rifle model 1889 started production in 1891, and was the first straight pull bolt-action rifle.
The straight pull bolt-action of the Schmidt-Rubin allows the user to pull straight back, unlocking the bolt and ejecting the cartridge, with one motion. The action will then allow the user to push forward with one motion to chamber the next round, lock the bolt and cock the weapon for firing. The Weapon is roughly musket length with a free floating barrel, 12 round magazine and wood stock that extended almost to the tip of the barrel. The Schmidt-Rubin 1889 was one of the most revolutionary rifles of its day. The Schmidt-Rubin 1889 was one of the first to use 7.5 mm copper jacketed rounds of ammunition similar to those used today. The 7.5 x 53.5mm round designed by Col.
Rubin was revolutionary in that most of the bullets used in Europe at the time were around .50 inches as opposed to .308 inches of the Schmidt-Rubin ammunition. Strangely enough the round was "paper patched" meaning the actual bullet was surrounded by a piece of paper, much like cotton patches were placed around the bullet of a musket. Paper patching the round was suppose to aid in the lubrication of the bullet. In 1923 long after the discontinuation of the Model 1889, the 7.5x53.5mm round was produced without the paper patching. The model 1889 was eventually replaced by its many successor models such as: model 1896, model 96/11, model 1911, 1911 carbine and the famous k-31.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1088

Image of WW1 LEE ENFIELD MK 1 CARBINE, 1899

Larger image

WW1 LEE ENFIELD MK 1 CARBINE, 1899

The Lee Enfield Mk1 with Enfield rifling, followed the Lee Metford range of rifles with Metford rifling.
See Item A1109.

View 3 comments about this object

A0909

Image of WW1 BRITISH LEE METFORD RIFLE MK 1*, 1899

Larger image

WW1 BRITISH LEE METFORD RIFLE MK 1*, 1899

The first magazine Rifle to be adopted by the British Army .
The barrel is bored using the Metford type of Rifling. It used the new .303 Cartridge adopted in 1888. Dated 1889, originally a Mk1. This one has been converted to a Mk1 star. Complete with Bayonet Item A1146.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1109 A1146

Image of LONG LEE Mk1*  (LONG LEE), 1901

Larger image

LONG LEE Mk1* (LONG LEE), 1901

The Lee-Enfield Mk1 was the first Lee Enfield Magazine Rifle to be Officially adopted by the British Army in 1895. The Mk1 Star version was made in 1899 with minor variations. The weapon became known as the 'Long Lee'. Originally purchased from the Northumberland Fusiliers Museum 20 years ago and held in a personal collection until sold to the Museum of Technology. Shown with 5 X Round from 1909 and WW1 Clip

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1409

Image of WW1 LEE ENFIELD P14 RIFLE AND BAYONET, 1914

Larger image

WW1 LEE ENFIELD P14 RIFLE AND BAYONET, 1914

The P14 was based on an earlier P13, which used a .276inch round, it was an attempt to improve on the Enfield Mk3. The P13 had undesirable elements that were ironed out in the new weapon, its barrel being good enough to be used for Sniping and some were fitted with scope attachments.

Not adopted by the British Army ( the Enfield Mk3 was considered better than had been realised), all stocks of the weapon were sent to America where production continued by several different manufacturers to prop up production of their Springfield 1903 rifle and used by American troops during WW1, as they did not have time to prepare for more Springfield’s as they entered the War in Europe.

During WW2 some were purchased for the Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard) after being reconditioned, taking off the Dial sights and the rear aperture sight before release (Weedon repair standard). The P13 used the .276 round and the P14 the .303inch round The P17 also supplied used the 30-06 not the standard .303 round currently in use, these rifles were marked with a red band.

The P14 is charger loading only i,e, the magazine is integral and cannot be removed, rounds are inserted straight from the clip into the top of the rifle. This weapon is the American issue with all its original sights intact, and made by Remington in the USA. Complete with Bayonet Item A0395 .

View 3 comments about this object

A0394 A0395

Image of GERMAN MAUSER KAR 98 RIFLE, 1917

Larger image

GERMAN MAUSER KAR 98 RIFLE, 1917

Carbine version ( K) of the standard German army rifle of WW1 The Karabiner 98k was a controlled-feed bolt-action rifle. It could be loaded with five rounds of 7.92x57mm IS ammunition from a stripper clip, loaded into an internal magazine. It was derived from earlier rifles, namely the Karabiner 98b, which in turn had been developed from the Mauser Model 1898. The Gewehr 98 or Model 1898 took its principles from the Lebel Model 1886 rifle with the improvement of a metallic magazine of five cartridges. Since the rifle was shorter than the earlier Karabiner 98b from which it was derived (the 98b was a carbine in name only, being identical in length to the Gewehr 98 long rifle), it was given the designation Karabiner 98 Kurz, meaning "Carbine 98 Short". Just like its predecessor, the rifle was noted for its reliability, good accuracy and an effective range of up to 500 meters (547 yards) with iron sights.
Design details
The standard Karabiner 98k iron sights could be regulated for ranges from 100 m up to 2000 m in 100 m increments. The 98k rifle was designed to be used with an S84/98 III bayonet and to fire rifle grenades. Most rifles had laminated stocks , the result of trials that had stretched through the 1930s. Plywood laminates resisted warping better than the conventional one-piece patterns, did not require lengthy maturing and were less wasteful. Starting in late 1944, 98k production began transition to the "Kriegsmodell" ("war model") variant. This version was simplified to meet wartime production demands, removing the bayonet lug, cleaning rod, stock disk, and other features deemed to be unnecessary.

The 98k had the same disadvantages as all other turn-of-the-century military rifles in that it was comparatively bulky and heavy, and the rate of fire was limited by how fast the bolt could be operated. Its magazine had only half the capacity of Great Britain's Lee-Enfield series rifles, but being internal, it made the weapon more comfortable to carry. A trench magazine was also produced that could be attached to the bottom of the internal magazine by removing the floor plate, increasing capacity to 20 rounds, though it still required loading with 5 round stripper clips. While the Allies (both Soviet and Anglo-American) developed and moved towards standardization of semi-automatic rifles, the Germans maintained these bolt-action rifles due to their tactical doctrine of basing a squad's fire power on the unit's light machine gun and possibly their problems of mass producing semi-automatic rifles.

In close combat, however, sub machine guns were often preferred, especially for urban combat where the rifle's range and low rate of fire were not very useful. Towards the end of the war, the Kar98k was being phased out in favour of the StG44 assault rifle, which fired a rifle round that was more powerful than the pistol cartridges of sub machine guns, but that could be used like a sub machine gun in close-quarters and urban fighting. Production of the StG44 was never sufficient to meet demand, being a late war weapon, and because of this the Mauser Kar98k rifle was still produced and used as the standard infantry rifle by the German forces until the German surrender in May 1945.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A0911

Image of WW1 LEE ENFIELD No1 MK 3*   RIFLE, 1918

Larger image

WW1 LEE ENFIELD No1 MK 3* RIFLE, 1918

British No.1 Mk III* Lee-Enfield Rifle, SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield) or short rifle with magazine.

Adopted by the British Military on January 26, 1907.

Adapted from an original design by James Paris Lee and the Royal Arms Factory at Enfield, England.

Mk III refers to the third incarnation of the No.1 rifle.

This rifle was also manufactured in England, Australia and India. The Mk III was used in both WWI and WW2.

Probably one of the fastest cycling bolt action rifles made for military use. The rifle pictured was manufactured at Enfield in 1918, in England

View 2 comments about this object

A0550

Image of RUSSIAN MOSIN NAGANT RIFLE, 1938

Larger image

RUSSIAN MOSIN NAGANT RIFLE, 1938

Carbine version of rifle used by the Russian Army during WW2 Dated 1944 During the Russo-Turkish War, Russian troops armed with mostly Berdan single-shot rifles engaged Turks with Winchester repeating rifles resulting in alarmingly disproportionate casualties. This emphasised to commanders a need to modernize the Imperial army. The Russian Main Artillery Administration undertook the task of producing a magazine-fed, multi-round weapon in 1882. After failing to adequately modify the Berdan system to meet the requirements, a "Special Commission for the testing of Magazine[-fed] Rifles" was formed to test new designs.

Sergei Ivanovich Mosin, a young captain in the Imperial army, submitted his "3-line" calibre (.30 cal, 7.62 mm) rifle in 1889 alongside a 3.5-line design by Léon Nagant (a Belgian). When trials concluded in 1891, all units which tested the rifles indicated a preference for Nagant's design and the Commission voted 14 to 10 to approve it. However, more influential officers pushed for the domestic design, resulting in a compromise: Mosin's rifle was used with a Nagant-designed feed mechanism. Thus the 3-line rifle, Model 1891 (its official designation at the time) came into being.

Production began in 1892 at the ordnance factories of Tula Arsenal, Izhevsk Arsenal, and Sestroryetsk Arsenal. Due to the limited capacities of these facilities and the newly formed Franco-Russian Alliance, an order of 500,000 rifles was placed with the French arms factory, Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault.

By the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, approximately 3.8 million rifles had been delivered to the army. Initial reactions by units equipped with the rifle were mixed, but this was likely due to poor maintenance by under-trained infantrymen used to Berdans.

Between adoption of the final design in 1891 and 1910, several variants and modifications to existing rifles were made.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1039

Image of WWII LEE ENFIELD No 4 Mk2 RIFLE, 1945

Larger image

WWII LEE ENFIELD No 4 Mk2 RIFLE, 1945

The No4 Enfield rifle originally the No1 Mk6 renamed the No4, replaced the SMLE No1 Mk3 during WW11.
As a standard-issue infantry rifle, it remained in British service well into the early 1960s and is still found in service in the armed forces of some Commonwealth Nations.

The Lee-Enfield was chambered for the .303 British cartridge, and featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded manually from the top, either one round at a time, or by means of five-round chargers. The Lee-Enfield series superseded the earlier Martini-Henry, Martini-Enfield, and Lee-Metford rifles, and although officially replaced in the UK with the L1A1 SLR in 1957, it continues to see official service in a number of British Commonwealth nations to the present day,notably with the Indian Police,and is the longest-serving military bolt-action rifle still in official service.
The rifle shown is a No4 Mk2 April 1950 made at Fazakerley Liverpool.

View 1 comment about this object

A0551

Image of ENFIELD No 4T SNIPER RIFLE, 1943

Larger image

ENFIELD No 4T SNIPER RIFLE, 1943

Originally Trialled in Enfield in 1940 with selected N0 4 Rifle being converted to Sniper status. In 1942 Holland 7 Holland were contracted to convert No4's. The Scope is a HBM&Co No32 Mk1 with broad arrow. This model was made at B.S.A. Shirley which is now a retail park.

Be the first to write a comment about this object

A1560

Image of BRITISH ARMY RIFLE FN L1A1, 1960's

Larger image

BRITISH ARMY RIFLE FN L1A1, 1960's

The origin of this weapon relates to the FN FAL rifle. During the 1950's the British tested the FAL and adopted it with various modifications naming it the L1A1.
It entered service in the late 1950's and replaced the Lee Enfield No4 Rifle then in use. Later the wooden stocks started to crack and were replaced with reinforced plastic. For the Trilux sights see Item A1145 in the Optics section.

View 3 comments about this object

A1117


Back to top

©2007 The Museum of Technology, The Great War and WWII
Company registered in England No. 7452160, Registered Charity No. 1140352, Accredited Museum No. 2221